Sunday, February 17, 2013

Amethyst Quilt and Grandmothers

Today as I was working on finishing up some of my Grandmother's quilt blocks I realized I was sewing my whole life. Not just my life after I got here but my life that led up to me being. There are pieces of material from when my mother was a kid, the clothes I remember my Grandmother wearing, my favorite p.j's as a little girl, the dresses made for me. My Grandmother was a remarkable and ordinary woman. She survived the great depression on a farm in the wind blown high prairie of north Montana, 30 miles north of Gildford just below the Canadian border. She raised chicken, grew her own food, canned it, pickled it, preserved it, stored it for the winter. She also quilted with scraps, not this stuff we do now, but real scraps, card board templates and all pieces cut with scissors. I still keep some of the cardboard templates made from cereal boxes. The fabric in the container still smells like my Grandmother, the templates have her hand writing on them.

Last week I pulled out some of my Grandmothers scraps to do blocks in conjunction with a block of the month quilt I am working on. Of course there are a multitude of unfinished works in this container. Dresden plates, traditional blocks of all sorts and this damn Amethyst block. Florence Vande Sandt was born Feb 4th 1905, in Arthur N. Dakota, her parent moved to Montana in 1906 to the middle of no where, which is where my Grandmother stayed until 1957 when she moved to town(I bet the population was a booming 200 back then), Gildford MT. There have to be at least enough Amethyst blocks to finish two quilts maybe more. She had a quilt just like it on her bed, I loved that quilt and I do POSSESS it now. I use it when I feel really sad, or really happy. I use it when I want to feel my Grandmother close to me, I love that quilt, it reminds me of everything I loved the most about my Grandmother, and there are a multitude of things. Home made soup, gardens, sewing, long hours conversation and card games, love always plenty of love and time, she always had time, chocolate cup cakes with homemade chocolate frosting. Some days I am sure everything I know that matter I learned from my Grandmother.

Back to the Amethyst blocks, I spent hours looking for the block on google - no one seemed to have a picture of an actual finished quilt. There are picture of blocks started which look of the same time period as my Grandmothers. For some reason I do not think anyone knows how to put it together any better then I do. For the blocks I have a 4" diamond cut in half length wise will work, the blocks are pretty wonky but it doesn't matter I will  sew them any way, this is not a quilt about perfect or precise unless one is only thinking of warm wonderful memories and love is always perfect. The quilt my Grandmother made used whole diamonds to put it together, how she did it but she did.

Pile of Amethyst quilt blocks

My attempt to use whole diamond to sew them together. 

I find it works much better to use half diamonds.

Amethyst blocks.

The Amethyst Quilt made by Florence Vande Sandt. 

Amethyst Quilt made my Grandmother Florence Vande Sandt.  Some of the blocks in this are feed sack fabric. The age range of fabrics seems to be from the 30's through the 50's. I love the yellow.